Hello RFP fam,
I am so glad I found your podcast. It’s so refreshing to hear other’s who have been through similar circumstances that I have been subjected to, and that they are able to recover. I’m still trying to learn what I believe, and what is religious tradition vs. Bible doctrine. I was born and raised in Tabernacle Baptist Church, with Pastor (Honorary) Dr. Lonnie Moore. He is a stable in the Sword of the Lord and travels to other IFB churches to sign and “preach” across the country. Growing up, legalism was preached against, but in reality it was lived everyday, and forced upon all who entered that “church”. Judgement, abuse of “church discipline, dictatorship of pastoral staff, and hatred toward other brethren not perfectly lining up with IFB were pillars of that “church”. My wife and I volunteered in the youth group after getting married, and I cannot tell you how many times we had to play “damage-control” following the hate-filled rants of the “Pastor”. It was so sad to us to see so many good people, especially youth, whose lives were ruined by the IFB movement, and specifically Pastor Lonnie Moore.
My family’s eyes were finally opened when the Assistant Pastor, Kevin Hearn (son-in-law of Lonnie), admitted to the abuse of church credit cards and “apologized” in the middle of church and resigned. After looking into the books (which he and his father-in-law had cooked for years), it was found that he was misleading the church, and had actually embezzled over $300,000 from the church. Rather than getting the authorities involved, the church was basically asked to forgive and forget. Those who did not agree were (not-s0) passive aggressively “called out” and lied about from the pulpit. Eventually it was obvious that particular “church” was beyond repair, and being held captive by a rage-filled despot they called “preacher”. His only priority was his family dynasty and his reputation, and his personal financial security all of which he defended at all costs. He repeatedly referred to the church as “HIS”, and made it obvious he only wanted “yes” men associated with his ministry.
While my church family forsook me, and my idea of “religion” crumbled, I am thankful to say that I have felt more peace and closeness with God since leaving that cult than ever before. I’m so glad that God delivered me and my family from that “church”. We are now faithfully serving in a Christ-centered, Biblically focused church. I still have “friends” within the movement, and it hurts my heart to see them blindly follow tradition rather than seeking Biblical principles and a relationship with Christ. It took a while to see the wrongs associated with this movement, and it might take even longer to “de-program” my thought process moving forward. However, this podcast has already been a literal “God-send”, and I am so thankful to be able to finally begin to move forward away from the hurt that church has brought me. Thank you RFP family for making this a topic of conversation, and allowing our voices to be heard. I think it is important for the truth to be proclaimed, so that others avoid decades of their lives being wasted and destroyed from similar churches. This is not intended to “bash”, but merely let my story be heard to shed light on this subject.
My name is Justin Lawson, and I am FINALLY a Recovering Fundamentalist.